Mauritius Olive White-eye

Zosterops chloronothos


A small endemic passerine, the Mauritius Olive White-eye is considered critically endangered following severe decline in its population size and distribution over the past few decades.

It is the smallest of the Mauritian songbirds and is the least known of all Mauritian birds. Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to trace its common name in the local Creole tongue.

Conservation efforts to help save the species from extinction were initiated in 2005 and a field team was stationed at Combo, in the uplands of Mauritius, to study the breeding and general behavior of these birds in their natural wild habitat.

Mauritius Olive White-eye Zosterops chloronothos

Photo Courtesy: R. Moon

Common name:

English: Mauritius Olive White-eye 

French: zostérops de Maurice or oiseau à lunettes

Mauritian Creole: lizye blan, zozo lizye blan (literally: white-eyed bird) or zozo pit pit

Species name author:

Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, a French ornithologist (1817)


Order: Passeriformes

Family: Zosteropidae

Current IUCN Red List category:

Critically Endangered (CR)

International Union for the Conservation of Nature - Critically Endangered


The upperparts are a dull olive colouration whilst the underparts are paler

Eyes are surrounded by a conspicuous white ring

Size - about 10 cm

Average mass - 8 g


Size -  190-296 mature individuals 

Trend -  decreasing

Distribution size (breeding/resident): 61 sq km


High forest dependency

Mainly in the wettest upland tropical forests of Black River Gorges National Park, Macchabée and Bel Ombre


Nectar of several endemic flowers, fruits and insects


Nest predation by introduced mammals and birds ( Crab-eating macaque, Ship rats, native Mauritius Black Bulbul Hypsipetes olivaceus and Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus)

Habitat  degradation and loss caused by the introduction of exotic plants 

Destruction of nests, eggs and chicks by tropical cyclones


A species recovery programme was initiated by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation in September 2005

Breeding behaviour  is closely monitored

Wild population monitoring

Predator control at nest sites

Rescue/harvest of wild nests, artificial incubation and hand-rearing of offspring

A trial release of birds to the predator-free and restored Ile aux Aigrettes, located off the coast of south-east Mauritius, in December 2006

Distribution Map

mauritius olive white-eye map

Other Endangered Bird Species of Mauritius

■ Mauritius Kestrel ■ Pink Pigeon ■ Mauritius Fody, ■ Mauritius Echo Parakeet ■ Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher ■ Mauritius Black Bulbul ■ Mauritius Grey White Eye ■ Mauritius Cuckooshrike

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